Research Experience for Undergraduates


Life in the Universe – Astronomy and Planetary Science at the SETI Institute

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General Information about the SETI Institute Astrobiology REU Program

What is it?
Students will work with scientists at the SETI Institute and at the nearby NASA Ames Research Center on projects spanning the field of astrobiology, from microbiology to planetary geology to observational astronomy.

Eligibility requirements
Current Sophomore and Junior Undergraduate Students who are United States Citizens or Permanent Residents

  • Full-time undergraduate student
    • has completed sophomore year before the summer of the internship
    • will still be an undergraduate during the fall term following the summer of the internship
  • U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident (i.e., green card)

Program dates:  June 9 to August 17, 2019. 
Please Note: We may be able to work with you if your final exams do not end before the program start date. We require all interns to be present for the entire program, including the first day. However, we are willing to proctor final exams, if your institution is willing to allow such an arrangement. It would be up to you to arrange this with your institution.

Financial support
$5000 ($500/week for the 10 weeks of the program)
In addition, participants will be provided with dorm housing
Travel reimbursement up to $600 for travel from home or campus to the San Francisco Bay Area

The Program
The SETI Institute (, a non-profit private scientific research institution located in California’s Silicon Valley, invites you to apply for a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates program for highly motivated students interested in astronomy, astrobiology, and planetary science research. You will work with scientists at the SETI Institute and at the nearby NASA Ames Research Center on projects spanning the field of astrobiology, from microbiology to observational astronomy.

The program includes a week-long field trip, including a collaborative project at the SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array, located at the Hat Creek Radio Astronomy Observatory in Northern California, as well as a field experience studying hydrothermal systems at nearby Lassen Volcanic National Park. Students will also participate in local field trips to places such as historic Lick Observatory and the NASA Ames Wind Tunnel facility and other nearby locations of scientific interest, as well as  attend seminars, lectures, and discussions on astronomy, astrobiology, and planetary science. Students will live in dormitory housing at the NASA Ames Research Center. At the end of the summer, students will give presentations on their research projects, and many projects will be selected for submission to a national scientific conference, that the selected students will be funded to attend.

It is wise to apply to many internship programs, not just ours! Click here ( for a NSF website listing REU programs, of which the SETI Institute program is only one of many.

Click here ( for a NASA website listing a variety of internship opportunities.

Two main research areas will be emphasized, with projects including:

  • Astronomy and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), including but not limited to:
    • Planetary formation
    • SETI and radio astronomy
    • Extrasolar planets
  • Planetary Science and the Search for Life in the Solar System, including but not limited to:
    • Saturn’s rings
    • Mars geomorphology and spectroscopy
    • Survival of microbes under extreme conditions

For more information, email us at